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parrot_knight [userpic]

Farewell, Outpost Gallifrey

September 2nd, 2007 (09:52 pm)

Outpost Gallifrey, for over a decade the leading Doctor Who website, announced a few days ago that is ceasing to exist in its present form. An end to its news page was threatened last year, but in the event after a short break the news page revived, though I think the news page edited by committee which emerged suffers from many problems which the old, authoritative voice of Shaun Lyon did not. Shaun Lyon will remain the owner of the web addresses for those sections of the site which will continue - The Doctor Who News Page and The Doctor Who Forum will be losing their Outpost Gallifrey badging in the near future, while www.gallifreyone.com will become the address of Gallifrey Conventions, which will continue in Los Angeles for the foreseeable future. One of the oddities of Doctor Who fandom is that what still has a strong claim to be its leading convention is held in California and not in the UK where the series is made; this is a historical reflection of the upbeat tone of American Doctor Who fandom in the 1990s, when much of British fandom was still recovering from the internecine warfare of the 1980s, and where the books, though enjoyed, were for many people not enough to substitute for the continuation of the television series. America's enthusiasm was in part encouraged by the possibility that Doctor Who might be revived as a North American production, though in the event only the 1996 TV Movie with Paul McGann emerged from Vancouver.

The realm of Doctor Who fandom has always presented a landscape of dramatic escarpments, treacherous ravines, flora from wallflowers to tall poppies, and forests both carnivorous and petrified. The number of registrations on its forum - 300,000 or thereabouts - suggests that Outpost Gallifrey made a successful transition from the age when the big news stories were a theatre tour by an ex-Doctor, or the announcement of a new batch of releases by Big Finish, through the announcement of the series' return in September 2003 (it's worth looking in the site's news archive to look at the coverage) to Doctor Who's current ascendancy in popular culture, or at least a popularity unprecedented in its history. From the point of view of someone who discovered the site round about the production of the TV movie, Shaun Lyon's decision to archive Outpost Gallifrey and continue three of its strands under separate identities represents the completion of the crossing of a bridge. This is the new, new, new fandom of Doctor Who - internetted, fuelled by (but not always enjoying) the programme's mass appeal, and giving fiction-writing a greater role than it had even in the high days of the New Adventures - and it's beyond the grasp of one website alone. Shaun did a remarkable job and will continue to do so as the man who pays the bills for the sites; I think that for a lot of relative newcomers it's the forum that is the focus rather than the edited reviews, the episode guide or the 'Canon-Keeper's Guide', admirable though they are.

Comments

Posted by: Disparate Housewife (wryelle)
Posted at: September 2nd, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)

"The realm of Doctor Who fandom has always presented a landscape of dramatic escarpments, treacherous ravines, flora from wallflowers to tall poppies, and forests both carnivorous and petrified."

That's an inspired line. :)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 2nd, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)

It wasn't entirely spontaneous. ;)

Posted by: Pellegrina (pellegrina)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2007 06:54 am (UTC)
fennec

I was going to post how much I enjoyed this line, too. Especially "both carnivorous and petrified".

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2007 08:55 am (UTC)
Hartnell words

I was thinking of the petrified forest in which the TARDIS materialises at the start of the first Dalek story; and of all the flesh-eating plants seen in Doctor Who.

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2007 07:48 am (UTC)

Effectively though, the forum will continue as before. It's a shame it's not going to have the name any more though.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2007 08:54 am (UTC)
Sylvester

I'm sorry that point got lost somewhere. I've seen the moderators explaining that with the forum thriving as it is, and with there being so many well-argued posts (though they are difficult to find at times), the review section of the site is now redundant, but I think it's a pity that the project won't be wrapped up by bringing the reviews up to the end of the 2007 season.

Posted by: viala_qilarre (viala_qilarre)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2007 08:56 am (UTC)

I'd agree that on the whole there are a lot of well-argued posts. Despite my occasional frustration with OG, it's not a bad forum. If you want to see the really loony extremes of DW fandom, you need to go to some of the LJ comms.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: September 3rd, 2007 09:07 am (UTC)
Kirkcudbright Samoyed

If you want to see the really loony extremes of DW fandom, you need to go to some of the LJ comms.

You have summed up why I spend very little time on them!